Reassembling a Cosmopolitics as Subsensorial

by Pia Lindman

I’m an artist and a healer: in both practices, my point of departure has often been personal experiences, guiding my inquiries and leading me to investigate the body and its place within the cultural space, as well as its relationship with the larger ecosystem. Affected by the powerful visceral experiences of a disease in my bodily organism due to environmental toxins, I have moved beyond the human body to explore multiple realms of organic and inorganic life, and what I have termed the subsensorial.

The subsensorial refers to a realm of experience that is beyond the capabilities of our human everyday sensory equipment. It signals events interweaving our mind, bodies, and our environment together. These events are registered on a molecular and cellular level, yet, usually do not rise to human consciousness. Nevertheless, these events have an effect on our minds, bodies, and our sense of belonging to this world, our sense of connection.

After being poisoned by Mercury (a neurotoxin), I discovered I suffered from heightened sensitivity to a number of environmental factors and processes in my own body. Not only did I suffer from lowered immunity and digestion difficulties, but I experienced curious warps of my cognitive capabilities – sometimes causing sensory effects similar to hallucinations. My symptoms forced me to give up many habits that dull our sensory equipment, such as smoking or consuming alcohol, but also certain foods. Undergoing a new regime, my sensory system further tweaked to what is commonly viewed as an ‘over’-heightened sensitivity. I have come to view this sensitivity as empowering and indeed a valuable messaging system in regards to our contemporary lives and environments.

My heightened sensitivity is a medium that allows me to receive more signals from the cells of my body – of, for instance, chemical and energetic events. These events take place in the cells precisely because elements in the environment are entering and interacting with the organic system that is my mind and body. Things of the mind and of matter intermingle in a mix of energy and life. These interconnected events cause the cells to emit signals, for instance, by way of changes of pressure in the walls of the cells and microbial movements or secretions. These signals reach some sort of pre-conscious-consciousness of my mind. Human consciousness usually filters these signals out, but in my mind, they are translated into various mind “things”, i.e., visuals, melodies, words, movements, and colors. I call this interstitial work of mind and body, this intermediary space and time of signals and synesthesia, the subsensorial… 

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